World Health Organization wants to redefine infertility to create reproductive rights for all

The World Health Organization (WHO) is soon to announce a redefinition of infertility, to consider that it also affects people alone or in homosexual partnerships. In this way, the WHO wishes to ensure that individuals benefit from a right to reproduction., which would give them access to medically assisted procreation, at the risk of trivializing even the practice of surrogate mothers. One of the drafters claims that it will impose itself on states.

À Currently, clinically, WHO defines infertility as "A disease of the reproductive system defined by the inability to achieve clinical pregnancy after twelve months or more of regular, unprotected sex". The social situation of the person is irrelevant, the definition is only medical.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the organization intends to revert to this meaning to add any individual who cannot have children with their sexual partner - homosexual people -, and those who have not found a partner of the other sex, as long as these people want to have children. The purpose of this rereading is to create a “right to reproduce”. This new definition is expected to be communicated to the ministries of health of the 197 WHO member states next year.

Dr David Adamson, one of the authors of the redefinition explains: “The definition of infertility is now written in such a way that it includes the right of all individuals to have a family, and that includes single people. and those engaged in homosexual relationships. It is a marker in the ground that says that an individual has the right to reproduce, whether alone or not. This […] says who should have access to health care, and member countries are bound by this international legal standard. The claim, however, deserves to be seen as more enthusiastic, if not deliberately false, than realistic, WHO's current legal tools are regulations and recommendations; states are not required to follow the latest, and infertility is not regulatory.

The Constitution of the World Health Organization is clear about binding measures for states, and only five fields of application are concerned. Article 21 relating to regulations mentions sanitary measures to prevent the international spread of diseases, as well as the conditions relating to the advertising and designation of biological or pharmaceutical products in international trade.

The five themes concern diseases and biological, pharmaceutical or similar products. Unless celibacy or homosexuality become physical and contagious diseases in addition to a disability, as the WHO already wishes, the alleged infertility of people alone or involved in homosexual partnerships does not fall under regulatory jurisdiction. organisation. Nevertheless, it is possible to see in the words of Dr. Adamson an invitation made to single people or in homosexual relations to claim this supposed in the courts of their countries.

From a social health policy to a societal policy

The definition of disability has evolved, from a medical vision it has shifted to a medico-social reading that was until then legitimate, because fair. Disability constitutes an obstacle to social life that society tries to overcome, for example by facilitating the employment of people with motor disabilities or their access to various infrastructures such as public buildings. States can legislate on this subject and recognize the rights of individuals in these situations, rights that they can thus enforce in court against failing communities.

The WHO uses the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health which defines the limitation "As an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions." Disability is the interaction between people with a medical condition (cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or depression) and personal and environmental factors (eg negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social supports) ”. The current definition is medical and social. By making people presumed capable of fathering or giving birth to individuals, and desiring to procreate, but not being socially able to do so, allegedly disabled people, the WHO is changing the definition not on a scientific basis, but on a teleological basis which, here, is no longer justified. The goal - and it is admitted - is to create new rights to bypass nature.

The World Health Organization places itself on the ground of the philosophy of law, particularly that of the debate on the generations of rights. There are currently three major groups of rights which have succeeded each other over time. The first is human rights, civil and political rights; the second generation is made up of socio-economic and cultural rights, it is about dignity and well-being which are declined for example in the form of the right to work, to education, to culture or to rest; the third generation is relatively contested, it is the rights of solidarity, with vague and interventionist contours at the planetary level in that they speak of international solidarity for example towards minorities or to live in a healthy environment, and on the basis of this category were carried out humanitarian intervention operations.

The right to procreation of which the WHO speaks is located in the very controversial fourth generation of rights even less defined than the previous one and which includes those of people who are fragile because of their age (children, the elderly) or of a handicap. Unlike the rights of other generations, which concern the obligations of collective life, called objective rights, those of the latter are said to be subjective, because they concern the rights of the individual that he could claim from the State as a as an individual and not as a member of the community, for example as a voter.

As a person recognized as disabled, the individual may, if the legislation binding on the State under whose power he finds himself so provides, claim the recognition of his rights. For example, taking your disability into account during a competition. If a State were to grant legal force to the future recommendation of the World Health Organization, it would have to broaden the conditions of access to medically assisted procreation. This would imply, in the name of the poorly assimilated principle of equality, to authorize men to resort to surrogacy in order to have offspring like women benefiting from medical fertilization. We would move from a socio-medical and health policy taking into account the structural difficulties of the life of disabled people (travel, social life) to a supposedly socio-medical policy, but purely societal. It would not be a question of facilitating the integration of the disabled individual into society, but of redefining society.

This socio-legal conception claims to support equality. However, this last notion does not mean de facto identical treatment for various situations, but de jure identical treatment of each type of situation. A single person is not an infertile couple, even though their situation is undergone, and neither is a homosexual relationship; to treat them as infertile couples would be a misunderstanding of the concept of equality.

Hans-Søren Dag

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